Boys and Girls Clubs unit director presented national award

Vanessa Medina, left, chief volunteer officer for BGCH, presents the Maytag Dependable Leader to Hilda Gathright. Courtesy photo

HARLINGEN — It’s all about the kids.

Hilda Gathright has worked tirelessly for almost 40 years steering local youth toward lives of capacity and success. Gathright, a unit director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen, was recognized Thursday for her consistency, focus and reliability by the Maytag Dependable Leader program.

“I feel honored and it was very unexpected,” said Gathright after receiving a plaque at the monthly meeting of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen. The meeting was held at the Main Unit of BGCH.

“We as a board are so proud of Hilda for receiving this national award,” said Kathy Preddy, who has served on the board since 1984.

The Maytag Dependable Leader program honors extraordinary individuals for their commitment to kids and teens. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Maytag have selected seven recipients of the Maytag Dependable Leader Award that recognizes Boys and Girls Club employees and volunteers who have dedicated their lives to serving young people.

“It was given to her because of her mentorship, leadership and commitment to the youth in our community as well as her service to all children in our community,” Preddy said.

Other recipients this year include U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.

Board Member Lynn Johnson hailed the recognition.

“Of all the people in the United States that work with the Boys and Girls Club, Hilda is probably the most deserving of anybody,” Johnson said. “She gives back to the whole community, and she mentors those kids like none other. She is a blessing to have.”

Gathright is the director at the LeMoyne Gardens Unit of the BGCH, and the kids she works with also sang her praises.

“I’m very proud of her,” said Gabriella Contreras, 15.

“She deserves it,” Gabriella said. “She made me a better person and changed who I am.”

Laura Garcia agreed.

“I honestly believe that Hilda deserves it because she does a lot for us, the kids and the Boys and Girls Club,” said Laura, 15. “She’s made a really big difference. For me she made me a better person to other people and more confident in myself.”

Gathright spoke fondly of her work with local kids over the years.

“I’ve gotten so close to so many of them throughout the years,” she said. “A lot of them have become like family, like my own kids.”

twhitehead@valleystar.com